However, I didn't just want to dismiss this idea as something I'll never be able to get close to, so I did a little study. I have one of those Bibles (the big fat ones) that has a concordance in the back (most helpful thing ever.) So I looked up where it talks about sacrifice in the Bible.
Then I read the passages and made some notes -
Then I had a think.
And I asked a few of you on facebook what you thought of when you heard the word "sacrifice". I got some great responses:
- Dying to Self
- Jesus' sacrifice for us
- Abraham and Isaac
- Elton John
- Putting other people before you/being willing to serve others - a number of people said this
- King Julian in Madagascar 2! (personal favourite)
- Goats/Fire/burnt sacrifice
And then I drew some conclusions with everything I had read/thought about.
#1. What God wants most is our heartfelt, pure, authentic worship
- "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Matthew 23:37 (Greatest Commandment)
- "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship." Romans 12:1
#2. He deserves this worship because of the sacrifice that Jesus' death was
- "...we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Hebrews 10:10
- "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10
#3. Our response to Jesus' sacrifice should be to love like he did
- "...live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." Ephesians 5:2
- "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." 1 John 4:11-12
So when I think about sacrifice instead of it being about an unobtainable trust in God, it's actually more like trying to love God and love others. Now while this might seem easier, speaking from experience, loving God and people to a good standard is actually flipping hard! But I can trust that while I find it difficult to have the incredible trust that people in the Bible had - God doesn't leave me on my own to suss it out. He is there, and his Holy Spirit is at work helping me to think less of myself and more of others.
- "He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30
Sacrifice in a nutshell.
* Disclaimer - I am not a Biblical scholar. I'm just trying to adventure my way through life with God...so please correct me if any of this is wrong!